Lion End ~ DaShawn Hand ~ Alabama Crimson Tide ~ 6036/297
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
Lions ~ This is my term for Defensive Linemen with the Size of a smaller and faster Defensive Tackle and the WingSpan of a Defensive End. Like the Grizzlies, they can line up at End in a 34 or at Tackle in a 43, or just about anywhere in either Formation, and conceivably play either 1 Gap or 2 Gap. The Prototype would be about 6050/300 or less.
Of course, where and how any given Coach chooses to deploy his Players is his Business. Players that I characterize as Lions may often or even routinely line up anywhere, on any given Down. My only purpose is simply to identify what I perceive as Skill Sets, to distinguish types, if you will, and perhaps create a universal Point of Reference.
When evaluating Lions, this is how I break down the Attributes to which I pay most particular attention:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Torso Power is important, but Core Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. All the Torso Power in the world will still fail if you simply can't dig in your Heels. But Core Power enables an Offensive Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Acceleration, and, above all: Fluidity or Core Agility, which, I believe, is even more essential to sustained good Health ~ and to sustained good FootBall ~ than Core Power. The ability to react with Serpentine smoothness is a tremendous Asset in all Aspects of the Game, and certainly in the Hand to Hand Combat that characterizes Trench Warfare. All the Power in the World goes only so far if you're lurching around like FrankenStein.
Frame: Vertical Leverage, Hands, Arm Length, and WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Vertical Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Intensity and Stamina: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Rush: Ditto.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power ~ lower body Power. Core Power trumps Torso Power. Tyrannosaurus Rex had exceptional Core Power.
* Torso Power ~ upper Body Power. Important, but not crucial. T Rex had lousy Torso Power...yet was King.
* Anchoring Strength against the Run.
* Drive Power, Rushing the Passer.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Vertical Leverage. Height is crucial, but it's actually better, I believe, to be an Inch shorter than an Inch Taller.
* Hands. The larger the better, generally, but compact is never a bad Attribute in The Trenches.
* Arm Length. Absolutely crucial. He who boasts the longer Arms initiates Combat.
* WingSpan. Arm Length + Torso Width. A more complete Measurement.
* Lateral Leverage. Angles. Getting Square or better with the Target.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: 60. Equally impressive Anchoring Strength and Drive Power.
Agility: 50. Exceptional Fluidity and sensational Speed, but mediocre Launch Velocity and Closing Speed.
Frame: 90. Perfect Height for a Lion End/Tackle Hybrid, and an outstanding WingSpan.
Combat Skills: 40. Excellent Paw Positioning, but poor Paw Persistence, as he usually just locks up with his Foe without shedding. Mediocre Lateral Leverage and FootWork. Developmental Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: 40. Often a tick late off the Snap or to react to the Tactical LandScape.
Motor: 40. No Dog, by any means, but his Intensity is pretty shaky, though his Stamina is excellent.
Run Defense: 50. Effective at The Point of Attack. Mediocre in Pursuit.
Pass Rush: 33. I saw a Play against Francois, the Seminole QuarterBack, in 2017, that really bothered me. I understand that Hand is hauling around 300 Pounds of beef and can't fly around, and that Alabama plays Contain, but he had an unabated, unblocked path to the QuarterBack on a crucial Play, early in the Game, and seemed to just casually jog towards'm before Francois uncorked a big Completion. I've read otherwise, but it seems to me that Hand has no FirePower to speak of: Mediocre Launch Velocity and Closing Speed, raw Combat Skills, coupled with sluggish Processing Speed, and neither enough Twitch nor enough Power to compensate enough to matter.
Based on his blistering 4.83 40 Time, I could be wrong, and it may well just be that Hand needs different circumstances in which to blossom, because he's got plenty of Power, plenty of Fluidity, and an awesome WingSpan. Indeed, it's even possible that what I perceive as sluggish Closing Speed is a function of Alabama's Contain Defense, and that Hand possesses hitherto untapped blazing Closing Speed that'll dazzle and amaze, once finally unleashed.
But I have to go with what I see.
And what I perceive at this point is a Prospect long on Talent but short on Processing Speed, Combat Skills, and Intensity: short, that is, on all of the indicators that I look to when I'm trying to discern and decipher Intelligence and Drive.
I am not here to cast dispersions. I've read nothing but good about Hand's Character, and he seems to play disciplined out there, to his very good credit. But in acknowledging that it takes not just Talent but a truckload of Intelligence and Drive to develop that Talent to such a fine point that you can call on it to deliver results when the bullets are flying, I seek out Prospects who've provided evidence that they are loaded with Intelligence and Drive...and Hand has not.
Ceiling? Contender. 3rd Round. Should he develop his Combat Skills, Field Vision, and Intensity to their full capacity and thence develop his Game to its full capacity, Hand has enough Power, Fluidity, and Length to become a strong Run Defender at the Point of Attack, a competitive one in Pursuit, and an effective Pass Rusher.
Floor? Reserve. 6th/7th Round. If he fails to do so, he might never see significant Snaps.
Risk/Reward Ratio? Sketchy. It seems like a very real possibility that Hand is one of those highly talented guys who got by for so long on their Talent, that they simply never learned how much it takes to become All That You Can Be. And sometimes they don't learn until it's too late. And it doesn't even necessarily reflect a lack of Character. It might be understanding that's lacking. They speak of the light going on with young Players, sometimes.
I get the sense that that, more often than not, is the case, when talented Prospects plateau: Not a lack of Character, but a lack of understanding just how much Time and Training it really takes to become All That You Can Be.
We'll see how Mister Hand's story plays out.
Heh. South Park Reference.
Thank you so very much, Draft BreakDown, without whom my Work would be virtually impossible.
Please also note, Fellow FootBall Fiends: These CyberScouting Reports are not intended as predictions of success or failure, but as assessments ~ ludicrously amateurish assessments ~ of potential success. FootBall is a rough and often unfair business, and many a worthy Prospect has fallen far short of his potential, sometimes not because of his own failings, but because of those of coaching, scheme, timing...or because huge investments were made on other Prospects.
In other words: If any of my Super Dooper Deeper Sleepers ever fail to fulfill their vast potential, I’m confident that it goes without saying that it wasn’t their fault…or mine!!...Yes, I think that I'm being funny.
In other words: Caveat Emptor, Fellow FootBall Fiends!!
Enter at your own risk!!